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Crow's misfortune is teammate's blessing

Retirement day, Gawn gets answers, Int Cup Footy Feed with Matt Thompson and Jen Phelan with the latest
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 06: Alex Keath of the Crows during the 2017 AFL round 20 match between the Adelaide Crows and the Port Adelaide Power at Adelaide Oval on August 06, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)
Alex Keath has shown great form since his debut in round 18

IMPRESSIVE Adelaide defender Alex Keath can thank injured key position prospect Elliott Himmelberg for allowing him to play in Friday night's blockbuster against Sydney at Adelaide Oval.

With midfielder Curtly Hampton set to come off the long-term injury list and play his first game in three months in the SANFL this weekend, the Crows would have had to demote either Keath or fellow cross-code success story Hugh Greenwood back to the rookie list.

However, Adelaide has decided to rule Himmelberg out for the season with a foot injury and allow him to get a full pre-season under his belt.

Match preview: Adelaide v Sydney

Himmelberg is expected to be placed on the long-term injury list, leaving a spot open for Keath to maintain his spot in the Crows' backline.

The 25-year-old former Victorian cricketer was outstanding in last weekend's 43-point win over Essendon in a challenging matchup with Bombers spearhead Joe Daniher.

Keath had 18 possessions and 11 marks and didn't concede a goal to Daniher, who booted three goals in a 10-minute spell when Keath was on the bench.

While All-Australian defender Daniel Talia is likely to get first crack at standing Swans champion Lance Franklin, Keath's size and pace off the mark would make him an intriguing opponent.

Keath's form will present coach Don Pyke with a selection headache when Kyle Hartigan is available for senior selection.

Hartigan will return in the SANFL this weekend after missing the past two weeks with a recurrence of a hamstring injury.

Pyke will also have Hampton – who played the first nine games of the season before requiring ankle surgery – back on deck.

Skipper Taylor Walker (toe) and vice-captain Rory Sloane (knee) must complete Wednesday's main training session to be cleared to face the Swans.

First-year player Himmelberg has missed the past month with foot issues.